To learn more about the Big Hole Watershed Committee and their current conservation efforts,

Help Save the Threatened Arctic Grayling in Montana's Big Hole River


Thanks to your contributions in cooperation with the contributions made by Orvis and others,
Montana's Big Hole River fund raised over $91,000 since the beginning of 2007!

This legendary river needs your help.
Montana's Big Hole River

Fluvial Arctic grayling are by far the most rare and beautiful fish species in all of Montana, perhaps the entire lower 48. This grayling is not only one of the most gorgeous of cold water fish, it is an indicator species whose populations are a direct reflection, a barometer, to the health of a watershed.

Once common throughout the entire upper Missouri River system, the Fluvial Arctic grayling is now found only in the upper 80 miles of the Big Hole River, a mere 5% of its historic range. In 2004, the US Fish & Wildlife Service elevated the status of grayling under the Endangered Species Act to the highest priority a species can have, short of actual listing. Threats to the grayling include loss of riparian habitat, passage barriers, stream dewatering from irrigation withdrawals and drought, entrainment in irrigation ditches, thermal loading, and encroachment by non-native trout.

Upper Big Hole Project AreaThe Big Hole River Grayling Project will address the highest priority restoration site in the Big Hole River, a seven-mile reach near Wisdom, Montana. Restoration here is the focal point of work that will eventually entail the entire 80-mile “grayling reach.” Successful completion of the Big Hole River Grayling Project will restore connectivity for grayling migration between the mainstem of the Big Hole and Rock Creek, a historic spawning and juvenile rearing tributary. It will also provide spawning habitat and thermal cover on seven miles of mainstem and nearly three miles of Rock Creek; improve grazing management and restore streamside vegetation; restore and maintain desirable channel morphology; promote increased bank storage of groundwater; and improve instream flows and thermal conditions documented to be a chronic source of stress for grayling.

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